EG 207 Paper Lion Analysis
A Great Book; There’s No Lion
Walter Cronkite, Anderson Cooper, and George Plimpton; three reporters who not only reported a story, but decided to live their story. In mid February 1968, Walter Cronkite embedded himself in Vietnam during the Vietnam War to cover the Tet Offensive. In 2012, Anderson Cooper embedded himself in Syria during the, still ongoing, Syrian Civil War to cover the atrocities of President Assad’s regime against his own people. In 1963, George Plimpton embedded himself with the National Football League’s Detroit Lions to cover the life of a professional quarterback. Plimpton’s adventure may be less dangerous, but he’s still a journalist with an interesting story to tell. All journalists will run into strange and interesting stories in their career, however, journalists must be ready for any possibility. Like Dan Rather once said "When the going gets weird, anchor men punt." In Plimpton’s case, this was almost a literal possibility. Throughout “Paper Lion”, Plimpton makes it clear that despite personal risks and lengthy processes, he is dedicated to getting the real story, or in this case, the true athlete’s experience. Paper Lion is based off Plimpton’s experiences with the Detroit Lions as a third string quarterback during training camp. Even in the opening, George is confused for an Episcopalian minister when he arrives at the training camp. George doesn’t quite fit the image of an NFL quarterback. This is based solely on George’s muscular build, not his size. Eddie LeBaron was a quarterback for the Redskins and only measured 5’7”, so it can be determined that size has little to do with athletic success. Shortly after his arrival, George is confronted with the necessity for some form of health insurance. Given the fact that this experiment occurred in 1963 when the players were much smaller, this still occurred in 1963 when the players used inferior padding and full contact actually had...
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